Thursday, 30 September 2010

Great Name

I visited a friend yesterday and noticed on the floor a model helicopter .....

Picking it up and pressing the buttons I suddenly noticed the name on the tail of the helicopter!

"Dickie Coastguard"......what's that all about, how rude!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Measuring Up

Tonight after kit night, Gareth set about measuring people's uniform size....with a steel tape measure and laser leveller. What are the odds that Brian's cap fits when it arrives?

To be fair Brian has a funny shaped head.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Show Off

Last year Gareth and I had our kayaks, Nick said he could go one better......yes a 32ft gig.
One slight problem, its a bit long for the station, it might fit length ways through to the office?

But credit to Nick, he drove this round London, yes the middle of London during rush hour.
Along with members of Swanage Rowing club they then had a paddle in the Thames and then back on the trailer to Swanage.

Just got to wait for the next big puddle out the front of the building and we should all have a go!
(paddle not a drive round London)

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Night in at the movies

This was at training this week.....the top water rescue DVD .....chaps got a little hungry so decided to raid the supplies.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Points make Prizes

As Coastguard Rescue Officers we are issued with Personal Protection Equipment - overalls, boots, helmets etc - to allow us to do our job.

However once a year we can order extra uniform such as polo shirts, caps, shirts, jackets etc. To make sure nobody overdoes it each item has a points value and we can spend a maximum 50 points each. Turns out that a Coastguard pullover is worth 13 clip on ties or about a third of a jacket, whilst a coat costs more than 2 years worth of points so I don't suppose they get through many of those.

Well, I've chosen what I want, totalled it up and at 175 points I think I've bust. Might have to rethink; maybe put the shirt back and get a tie instead, or just have the right trouser leg and save up for the left one next year?

Friday, 24 September 2010

Stating the obvious

We watched a training DVD last night on water rescue some of it was very useful, others bits well...see for yourself.

Non floating rope sinks.

Do not throw lines, sorry ropes, into power ropes, sorry lines.

If it's dark, use lights.

When faced with steep embankments use a ladder.

You need to know everything about everything.

Like an iceberg there is more under the water.

When in a potential drowning situation try and stay on the surface.

Better a live dog than a dead lion.

Jog along?

Estuaries are where a river meets the sea.

Basements may be cold and deep.

As you get older you lose it.

... Some top tips!

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Well we couldn't let such an important event pass and not have a party? So the team went on mass to Poole Hospital to visit John. We are pleased to say he had a better day today and was very pleased to see his friends. We took him a cake but sadly hes not eating much at the moment, but that didn't stop other members of the team digging in.
Guess who ate all the doughnuts??
Thank you also to the St Albans team who kindly covered the patch whilst we went over to see John.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Our John

Today is a very special day for the Team and for one member in particular.....John Bentham.

30 years ago today, John joined the Swanage Coastguard Team and since then he has been the back bone of the team. John has given so much not only to the team but the families and lots of people in Swanage often putting them 1st.

Normal John has one speed, that's super fast ....whether fitting tyres or sweeping the station, you just see him running past.

So on behalf of the team congratulations to John for 30 years of dedicated Service to HM Coastguard, with a Chief Coastguard Commendation and a Letter of Thanks for his work at MRCC Portland during the Napoli incident not forgetting the many lives he has helped save in and around Swanage you can not ask for much more out of a wonderful team member.

Now sadly something we haven't told readers is that John is unfortunately quite ill at the moment so today will not be quite as we planned, so we would ask you all in joining us in wishing John a good recovery, he might be off for a bit but the Team is doing its best to look after him.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Crossed wires

One of our team made a very special trip last week to see the Pope......

Yes our Tom who has close connection with the Church (he sends a lot of people to Church on a regular basis) made that very special trip to see the Pope at the Vatican.

There was one slight problem, the Pope was in fact visiting the UK so the closest they got was as they passed each other on their respected journeys.

Bad luck Tom, we know you had a lovely trip perhaps some checking next time?

Remember folks when heading off whether in a boat or for a walk, make sure you PLAN your trip, it can save a lot of problems later on!

A polar bear washed up on a Cornish Beach....surely not?


Monday, 20 September 2010

There it is!

As we prepare for the special landmark, as the newest member of the team I’m still getting to grips with every day things such as keeping the pager with me at all times.

All was going well until 11.30pm Friday night when I suddenly realised it wasn’t there. It had been clipped to my belt all day. It should still be clipped to my belt. But it definitely wasn’t clipped to my belt…

Ignoring the golden rule of remaining calm under pressure I set about turning the house upside down desperately trying to remember when I last had it. I was just about to ring the Control Room at Portland and ask them to test page me (knowing full well that whilst it would locate the pager, it would also wake the whole house up AND be a source of amusement at the station) when I spotted it lurking down the side of the sofa.

I now know why the rest of the guys have their pagers on a little lanyard…think I might just get one. Lesson learned.

there it is...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

A very special event

As well as a new blogger on the books, this week one of the team is celebrating a very special land mark, tune in this week to read more.....

Mystery Blogger

To freshen up the Blog we have a new Blogger who will be joining us this week hopefully. So watch out for a new name.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Busy Afternoon

The Swanage Coastguard IRT was tasked this afternoon to assist with a dog which had fallen over the cliff at South Beach Studland. From memory this is the fourth of fifth in the last few weeks. The Swanage Inshore Lifeboat (RNLI) was also tasked.

On route a second call came in stating that a lady had fallen from a horse at Old Harry Rocks and had broken her leg/ankle. Obviously this took precedence. The Swanage Coastguard Team re-routed to old Harry to meet Rescue Helicopter 106 who airlifted the lady to hospital. Naturally we wish her a speedy recovery.

R106 On Scene Old Harry

In the meantime Swanage Inshore Lifeboat proceeded to South Beach to recover the dog and then liaised with the Swanage Coastguard Station Officer who had made his way to the scene to provide support. I understand the owners then took the dog onto the vets.

It's a difficult one, only last weekend I was up at Old Harry with the missus who was amazed at the number of dogs running around off the lead. If you know Old Harry you will be aware of the narrow ledge right at the end, well the dogs were running down that! I suppose owners think it won't happen to their dog; sadly it does.

A gap in the hedge and a 100ft sheer drop.

As a Coastguard Rescue Officer it's pretty difficult liaising with owners who have just seen their pet fall over the cliff in front of them. They are normally frantic with worry and are asking you to tell them that the dog will be alright. Sometimes it's good news..... other times less so.

It's heartbreaking to bring their dog back in a black bag for identification and then watch the owner put the bag in the boot of their car for what I imagine is a long journey home. Very sad.

For the dog's safety please, please put them on the lead.

Why we train.

Earlier in the year we undertook some para illuminate (distress flare) training. We were asked why we were doing this in the light. 
White Star over Durlston

Well it allows the team to see what they are doing and learn to fire them safely. Which means when we have to deploy one in the dark under pressure like we did last night we know exactly what to do, and how to keep ourselves safe.

From the above you will see they are particularly powerful hence the safety need for gloves, body and eye protection. Fired into the wind at a 70 degree angle. (...and no you don't have to say 'ooooh' when they have gone up!)

The para illuminate has been withdrawn from service with some Coastguard teams but due to cases like last night and the high level of searches we undertake (when they are used to light an area) the Swanage Team still carry them. A useful bit of kit.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Mr Strong

So what have Austen and Mr Strong from the mister men books got in common.

No.... Austen is not red
No.... Austen is not that square

Actually they both love eggs.

Well I say love eggs....Austen is currently house sitting for a mate who happens to have a load of chickens. So each morning he has a dozen eggs to eat or give away. I think the novelty of fresh eggs each morning is wearing rather thin, luckily this means I have been given 6. They are rather nice, thanks.

Just need some bacon.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Night Shout

01:20am Thursday 16th September: - A member of the public phoned the Solent MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to report seeing a flare over towards Poole Harbour. Solent immediately contacted Portland MRCC who were able to confirm that the Royal Marines were training within the harbour and that in all likelihood it was an illuminate from their activities.

In order to confirm this to be the case the Swanage Coastguard IRT team was tasked at 01:37 to Goathorn Pier on the southern side of Poole Harbour to deploy a para-illuminate (white flare). On a mark given by Solent the para-illuminate was launched and teams from Needles Coastguard on the Isle of Wight and the Yarmouth Lifeboat which was positioned off Hengistbury head were able to confirm that the flare was in the same position as had been seen by the member of the public.

A local resident also was awoken by the kerfuffle then confirmed that some marine chaps in camouflage gear had been running around in the woods near Goathorn Pier doing some secret stuff.

Both Coastguard Teams and the Yarmouth Lifeboat were stood down with Swanage returning to station at 02:37. CROs Thomson, Curtis and Kitching.

Blogger- iPhone

Trig Points

This Trig point is on top of Ballard.

Read more on these structures here:-

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Pants are down....

Only the other day a regular blog reader visited the station and asked about Terry's shop.... which coincidently is having an..
End of Season Sale
at Terry’s Shop
Up to 50% on selected lines.

Regular readers will know of coastguard team member Terry’s retirement from the ambulance service and decision to set up a swimwear / lingerie shop over on Tenerife.

As he said at the time he thought it was a 'good opportunity to get into ladies underwear'… to speak.

Well at the end of a very successful summer season he is making room for the winter collection; fur lined swimsuits and all that I assume.

So the sale is on....Pants are down… and brassieres half off.

Above: Terry's Shop Tenerife.
So if you’re over in Tenerife pop in and grab some pants.
Above: Terry modelling the new 'Nexus 1A-PRO-10 Deluxe' waterproof moustache.
(Available in grey, off grey, dark white)
There's an extra 10% off Speedo swimwear for Coasties who can produce their membership card.

Previous Terry's shop posts:-

Kings of the Castle

Something a bit different this week, the IRT got tasked to assist Ambulance at Corfe Castle. Someone slipped over and broke their ankle right at the top so ambulance asked for some help.
One helicopter and 3 Coastguard Rescue Officers later they arrived and treated the male, however it wasn't really suitable to airlift the man so they carried him down to the ambulance by the entrance.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Keeping watch

Terry and I last week on Ballard, taking a break to watch what was happening in the bay.

Monday, 13 September 2010


141 jobs as of today; that's a:-

15% increase on our busiest year (2006 with 122 jobs)

20% busier than an average year.

...and we've got another 3 1/2 months to go till year end!!!!!!!

A message

Is someone having a laugh? Emptied the post box this evening and found all these leaflets, does someone think that the team is a little on the large side?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Big Brother CG66

Is Big Brother always watching us?....well yes.... and sometimes it is watching over us in a good way.

The Maritime Coastguard Agency have a voluntary sceheme called CG66- The Voluntary Safety Identification Scheme.

If you are at sea and get into difficulty and you are unable to raise assistance, is there anyone ashore who knows what to do if you fail to return at your estimated time?

Would a friend or relative know who to contact? Would they have sufficient detail about your vessel and your likely whereabouts to be able to assist the Coastguard to locate you?

Would it not be a comfort to know that when you set out, the Coastguard has the details of your vessel on a database that is accessible to all Coastguard Co-ordination Centres throughout the UK so that they have the information they need to mount a search and rescue operation should you get into difficulty?

Quite simply, join HM Coastguard's CG66 Voluntary Safety Identification Scheme. You can join online, or download the form and send it to your nearest Coastguard Co-ordination Centre. Forms can also be obtained from any Coastguard Co-ordination Centre or Sector Base, MCA Marine Office, RNLI boathouse; or look out for them in your Local Marina or Sailing Club.

The scheme is free and is for the benefit of the owners and skippers of all types of leisure vessels and small craft including kayaks.

To register on line now could not be easier.

On a similar topic...mercifully that Channel 4 Big Brother show has finished forever....Phew no more Davina McCall.

Another hat trick

You send the DSO out to do some training and he manages to come back with three jobs !

Its starts with another dog over the cliff, this time on the Downs rather than Old Harry, then it was back to the Bankes Arms for a 15ft speed boat broken down and then finally a trip out to Old Harry to find these chaps who had misjudged the tide and weather. Swanage ILB crew managed to get all 4 on board and tow the canoes back to Studland so we could offer some words of advice!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Where's he bin?

Dee and Rid are on today's IRT and Accident Prevention Patrol, let's hope they don't get any jobs like this.....

RNLI Moelfre photo

Sounds like a wheelie difficult rescue for the Moelfre Lifeboat crew.

....sorry for any rubbish jokes.

Thursday, 9 September 2010


With the summer over and things calming down we are using September as a training and access month. Here Terry is taking the MRU around the area on Ballard known as the gun butts, an old firing range on the hill. The old Land Rover used to go over but a long wheel based truck can not.

So it was a case of driving around and checking the vehicle and Terry can still fit, locks on gates can be opened and a bit of driver training.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Back to basics

Last night's training was "back to basics" after the busy summer we picked back up on our rope work. Especially for Nick and Dee, it was hold fasts (our anchor points) and then the basic cliff top set up.

In the Coastguard world of rope work there are 4 levels of competencies. Awareness - the very basic understanding of the equipment: The Operator - team members operating the equipment on the top of the cliff: The Technician the person going over the cliff and finally the OIC or Officer in Charge.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Landing Craft

With the strong easterly wind yesterday, this boat made a landing on the main beach by punch and Judy.

The owner arrived and managed to refloat his craft.

Having a CG66 form registered with the Coastguard will help speed up the process of locating an owner of a boat and advising them of a situation. Forms are available on the main MCA website or flag down a passing Coastguard.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Weekend update

Another busy Sunday with Tom and Rid out 4 times in the afternoon.

1st a lady thought she had found something odd on the beach at Studland and flagged down the truck carrying out some training, this turned out to be some chain, but a good call. Next the team were tasked to Old Harry for some divers missing, then back to Durlston Head for a yacht putting out a mayday in fear of sinking.....Swanage Lifeboat did an excellent job towing them in Poole. Finally the team got called BACK to Old Harry to another dog fallen in almost the same spot as the dog on Saturday! Thankfully the owner recovered the dog before the team got there.

Same old safety message ???

Not bad for 3 hours work, so anyone at Ulwell wondering why the truck went up and down the road, they weren't lost.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Ooooooh suit you sir! Ooooh

Austen: ".. Do not put that photo on the blog!"
Gareth: ".. Ok I won't."
(liar liar pants on fire)

Mr Rockett and his Monkey Suit.

Dog Leads

Another incident yesterday involving a dog fallen from cliffs, thankfully just a possible broken leg.

Please keep your dogs on leads near the cliffs, it can save the life of your dog and a lot of pain for the owner.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Dog Job

Eric and Gareth were on an Accident Prevention Patrol this afternoon. On the way back from Old Harry they waved to couple with a greyhound. Within a minute a call came in from the Ops Room that a dog - a greyhound had gone over the cliff near Old Harry. A quick u turn and the team were on scene in under 1 minute. Same people!

The cliff harness and safety equipment was put on allowing a Swanage Coastguard team member to look over the cliff and con the Swanage Lifeboat onto the dogs position. It appears she had fallen about 100ft and landed on some seaweed but had damaged her back legs.

Sandie the dog was taken to South Beach by the Swanage inshore boat and reunited with her owner and then taken to the vets via the Studland Chain Ferry. The Coastguard team rang ahead to the vets and hopeful Sandie will as we speak be in the vets capable hands.

By way of a thanks Eric and Gareth got a kiss off the lady owner, which was nice.

Fingers crossed its a good result and we wish Sandie a speedy recovery!

Location:Old Harry

Giant Ice Creams

Trying to hide behind a giant ice cream down on the quay, two of our beach wardens taking a break at the begining of the season (saved this one).

Yet again the wardens have served the town well, only last week end they assisted the Coastguard with clearing the beach up at Sheps Hollow when the helicopter winched the male off the beach.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Happy Team

Just found this picture from carnival time. Austen in his truck and Gareth appears happy for some reason, but I can not remember why.....was it because they had just had fish and chips delivered?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

First Coastguard

The First Bus company has linked up with the Coastguard in the south west to promote calling the Coastguard in an maritime emergency.

Buses will have the above poster displayed on the back windows.....this campaign comes after the successful Tesco's link to promote the Coastguard.
Picture taken from the MCA website

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

More Tea Drinking

Yes another visit to the beach hut for tea......

Every ones gone home?

48 hours after the Bank Holiday it looks like Swanage has gone into Autumn mode!

The beach and water appeared a lot quieter although it did pick up in the afternoon.

And NO incidents!